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14 adventurous activities in London to get your adrenaline pumping

From ice climbing to abseiling, get your heart racing with London’s most adventurous activities

By Isabelle Aron and Alice French
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You don’t have to leave the city to go on an adventure. Did you know you can go ice climbing in Zone 1? Or how about wakeboarding in east London? We’ve picked out London’s most adventurous activities to help you feel invigorated without leaving the M25.

Adventurous activities in London

Thames Rockets High Speed Boat Ride

Things to do Tower Bridge

Want to feel like James Bond? Go for an action-packed journey across the river in a speedy Thames Rocket RIB (that’s rigid inflatable boat, for the uninitiated). Get there 20 minutes early to get suited and booted in a life jacket, a cagoule and some goggles (okay, you might not look as suave as 007, but you’ll be glad of the gear when you inevitably get splashed). While you’re whizzing around the river, the guides will entertain you with interesting facts – and if you go on your birthday, they’ll even sing to you. 

Flip Out

Things to do Sport events Earlsfield

With more than 120 trampolines over 45,000 square feet, including a parkour area and basketball hoops, Flip Out is the ultimate playground for people that like to hop, skip and jump. You can practice your flips, bounce around or fling yourself into the squashy unknown of a foam pit to get the adrenaline rush of a bungee jump with the safety of jumping on your bed – it’s the best of both worlds.

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Welsh Harp Sailing & Windsurfing Club
Welsh Harp Sailing & Windsurfing Club
Lydia Evans

Welsh Harp Sailing & Windsurfing Club

Whether you’re a total pro or feel like a duck out of water, you can learn to sail and windsurf at this non-profit sailing club near Wembley. Annual memberships are fairly cheap, as all the money paid goes to keeping the club afloat, and it’s run by volunteers. If you’re not ready to commit to becoming a member, you can pop along to one of their Thursday evening sessions to try it out.

Go Ape at the Go Ape, Battersea Park, London on the 02/12/2015. Photo: David Tett
Go Ape at the Go Ape, Battersea Park, London on the 02/12/2015. Photo: David Tett
David Tett

Go Ape Battersea

Things to do Battersea

At Go Ape, you can swing (and walk) through the trees, just like Tarzan. Okay, not exactly like Tarzan – you’ll probably need to wear more than just a leopard print sarong, but the treetops will be your playground. With rope bridges, super-wobbly crossings and zip wires, it’s probably not one for those with a fear of heights, but everyone else will go bananas for it.

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Bungee Jump O2 Arena

Music Music venues Greenwich Peninsula

You don’t have to be on your gap year in New Zealand to voluntarily throw yourself from a great height and experience the thrill of bungee jumping. The UK Bungee Club’s 160ft crane is located at the O2 Arena, which means you can soak up sweet views of the city’s skyscrapers, as you, er, plummet towards the ground.

ArcelorMittal Orbit
ArcelorMittal Orbit
Travis Hodges

The ArcelorMittal Orbit Abseil

Attractions Towers and viewpoints Olympic Park

Thought going for a slide down Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Park 114.5-metre-tall structure was tame? Well, now you can abseil down it. At 262 feet above the city, it’s the UK’s highest freefall abseil on the UK’s tallest sculpture – so it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll head to the viewing platform, get strapped into your harness and then you’re off. You can even opt to capture your experience with a GoPro, which should make for some interesting viewing.

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Horse Riding in Hyde Park

Giddy up! Whether you’re a seasoned rider or have never been in the saddle before, Hyde Park’s equestrian venue, Rotten Row, offers sessions for all levels. With experienced staff and one-on-one help for beginners, you’ll be galloping around the Serpentine in no time. They’ll even provide riding hats, boots and wet weather gear if you don’t have your own. Ride like the wind, Bullseye!

Vertical Chill at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

Sport and fitness Covent Garden

Want to experience Arctic conditions without leaving Zone 1? Head to Vertical Chill, an ice-climbing wall in Covent Garden where temperatures range from an icy -5°C to -12°C. Based at Ellis Brigham’s Tower House shop in Covent Garden, the wall is eight metres high and suitable for climbers of all levels. You’ll be kitted out with thermal gear, a helmet, a harness and crampons, but it wouldn’t hurt to wear a few cosy layers to keep the chill out.

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Kayaking London

Looking for an aquatic adventure? Take the plunge on a kayaking tour of London, where you can paddle along the Thames to see the London Eye and Houses of Parliament or float up the Grand Union Canal to Little Venice. All the money the team makes is reinvested in youth and community work done at Epic CIC at the Cremorne Riverside Centre, so you’ll be doing some good while you’re splashing around.

 

Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds

Things to do Hampstead Heath

Originally built in the 1770s as reservoirs, the Hampstead Ponds have become a hotspot for wild swimming. It’s liberating to splash around in natural waters (if a little cold), and there’s also single-sex ponds as well as a mixed one, so everyone can take a dip comfortably. It can get pretty busy on sunny days and during school holidays, so get there for a bracing early morning swim, or go for a dip when the kids are back at school.

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Find more quirky activities in London

Bread Ahead doughnut workshop
Photo: Elena Heatherwick

Weird and wonderful hobbies in London

Things to do Classes and workshops

Bored? You need to get yourself a new hobby. We’re talking alternative, freaky, fun activities, like trapezing, making wine, learning to paddleboard or butchering a pig (don’t worry, vegans of London, there are plenty of non-meat-hacking hobbies too).

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